North London indie rock quartet The Reverse released their latest album Which Way Out through DIY stalwarts Blang! Records on Friday, and following the Live in Lockdown video session recorded by frontman Nathan Loughran for us last week, we asked him to walk us through the new LP track by track.
CRUSH MY CHEST WITH YOUR HATE
This song came out of us playing the repetitive riff over and over in rehearsal. I love the drums on this. I feel as if the drum pattern is the main riff, which then interweaves with the guitar line. Sam’s guitar feedback is also integral to the song and the bass keeps everything together. I think we tracked about eight different takes of Sam’s guitar just feeding back to get that huge sound. I had written more lyrics for this, but repeating the same verse seemed to work better and was in keeping with the repetitive quality of the song. It was always going to be the opening track. It’s an attention grabbing start.
WHICH WAY OUT
I was thinking of Bernard Butler when I came up with the picked guitar line. I was going for that sort of bright trebly Suede guitar sound from their debut album and Dog Man Star particularly. Of course, the band had other things in mind and so the song became something quite different which is what I love about being in The Reverse. We spent ages on the breakdown bit and really wanted Sam’s delay guitar to have a kind of King Tubby, dub feel to it. The bass sounds particularly good on this track and it’s one of the few songs we have that starts with the drums, which I love!
NOTHING ON TELLY
A more straightforward song, but it is quite a few people’s favourite. I guess the lyrics are not so straightforward and not everybody gets the twist at first and I’m not going to give it away here.
We put it out as a single and we made a video where I was trying to replace every member of the band, it was meant to be humorous, yet they still bring it up on occasion… I think there’s still some residual resentment towards me, even though I was just acting… honest!
One of our favourites to play live. I love the dissonant breakdown towards the end where everything falls apart and then falls back into place. I want to do more stuff like that, in fact the next album could be entirely made up of dissonant tuneless noise… although I’d better run that past the rest of the band first. I also really enjoy Sam and Teresa’s backing vocals on this. Graham Dominy, who we have worked with for years and who mixed and co-produced the album did a particularly great job with this. It just seems to leap out of the speakers and demand attention.
A VAGUE ARRANGEMENT
This might be my favourite track from the album. It’s a duet, with Teresa joining on lead vocals for the first time and is unlike anything else off the album. Sam has said it’s a song that feels like it was waiting to be written. Weirdly we had it knocking around for ages, but it took a while to get right. I think the key was to keep it simple, resist the temptation for it to get bigger and go all cheesy stadium rock. My vocal and guitar part were kept from the earliest recording we made of it and then we gradually added stuff, mindful of keeping some space. Once we started adding bits and pieces it started to come together, Jason’s kick drum is like a heartbeat, Teresa added some subtle but beautiful piano and I love Sam’s guitar on this. It’s arguably the only time on the album we could call what he does categorically a “guitar solo”.
Less than a minute long, it’s less of a song and more of an interlude between side one and side two (I still think of albums in terms of side one and side two). It’s intended to wake people up a bit and shift the tone slightly between the heartfelt and the humorous. We often open shows with it as it gets people’s attention before we launch into something louder like ‘Crush My Chest’.
NOBODY LIKES YOU, EVERYBODY HATES YOU
One of the last songs we wrote for the album but the first one that was finished, so we put it out as limited single a while back. I remember writing the lyrics and chords on a Saturday afternoon and then going to rehearsal on the Sunday night and at the end of the rehearsal we had a finished arrangement… all done. That almost never happens!
Of course the lyrics take aim at people like Jeremy Kyle and Michael Gove but the song is also intended as a comment on the growing prevalence of people to share their opinions, grievances and hatred in public, on platforms such as Twitter. It can feel as though everybody hates everybody at times.
We recorded an earlier version of this with our previous bass player but once Teresa joined we started everything again and this is one of the few songs that survived that transition. Teresa added the stunning backing vocals and changed a root note and melody of the bass part, which really adds something. I’m happy with the lyrics on this one, it’s seems to capture that sense of looking back and reflecting. It might even be my favourite song on the album… I’ve said that already haven’t I?
KILL US ALL
Not as dark as the title makes it sound, well okay still quite dark lyrically, but musically it’s upbeat, kind of country, blues, garage rock. We spent a while trying to get the unplugged electric sound at the beginning to work with the full band sound when everything comes in, trying to sound lo-fi but natural. Before we recorded the album I only sent one reference album to the band and Graham, which was Brighten The Corners by Pavement. Not because I wanted to sound like Pavement, but because I think it’s a good example of an album that essentially sounds like a band playing together in a room, yet at the same time is sonically exciting and makes good use of production. Anyway this song is a good example of that approach I think. We recorded the whole album live and we kept all the drums, bass and most of my rhythm guitars. We then overdubbed Sam’s lead guitars, all the vocals and a few other bits and pieces, piano, acoustic etc. I wanted the album to sound like us playing together in a room, but just the best version of us playing together in a room!
THE DAY BEFORE WE DIED
This was the only song we disagreed on as a band. During the mixing process we began to refer to it as “the song that shall not be named”. We got there in the end and I’m really happy with it, however there were differences of opinion within the band about whether the mix was right, whether we’d played it right, whether the arrangement works, whether it was a bit out of time… etc. It’s strange because we don’t disagree often. It sounds different to the rest of the album but I love it and I love that it’s kind of the odd track out.
THE STARS WERE A MESS
I know for a fact that this is our drummer Jason’s favourite song. Just as we knew early on that ‘Crush My Chest’ had to be the opener we knew that this had to close the album. It’s hard to know what could follow it. I love Sam’s guitar on this, the screeching feedback in the solo. I also love the contrast between the loud and quiet and the vocal texture throughout. The bare bones of the song itself have been knocking around for some time, but it was when we were writing this album that we found an arrangement that worked. Again hats off to Graham for mixing this one so well, he captures the atmosphere of the song so well.